23 iulie 2011

Forradalom ( Revolutie )



Mindenhol elérnek szabályok,
Kutatják mit zabálok-szlapálok
Meghalni kész vagyok azért,
Amiért élni szeretnék
Õsi törzsek zenéjét hallom
Mit rettegett minden birodalom,
Ha elhallgatnám biztos, megölne
Akár a méreg: kitör belõlem

Mindenrõl a Fenevad tehet,
Aki új Törvényt hirdetett
Farsang lett szent ünnepünk
A Félelem Anyja megszült
Fekete Báránynak éreztem magam,
Mert Földi Örömökön járt agyam
Rabul ejtett az Emberkert,
A Fájdalomcsillapító Istenként vert

Fû alá söpörtek, de tartozom még az Ördögnek
Nyakamban farkas-fog-a-dalom
Ezért újra FORR-A-DALOM!

Mindig jön egy isteni szikra,
Mi bennem a kisördögöt lázítja,
A tüzet ismét felszítja
Eremben a vérbeli szittya,
Aki a lehullott zászlót felveszi
A barikákat barikádra vezeti
A hatalom kutyáit elkergeti
És szolgákból tud szabadot nevelni

A szél dolga süvölteni, a farkasé meg üvölteni
Lehet, hogy utolsó alkalom, ezért újra FORR-A-DALOM!

Világra szóló fájdalom. Összegyûlik sok / a / dalom
Hamar lesz itt lakodalom. Rabszolga tartó társ / a / dalom

Üzenetek foszlánya, belekerült a bográcsba,
A Pokol tüzére felrakom, ezért újra FORR-A-DALOM!

FORR-A-DALOM!
FORR-A-DALOM!

Folositi " translate " ! Si 12 beri.

21 iulie 2011

Why the Age of the Guru is Over


door.jpg
For a few decades now, it seems, humanity has been on the verge of a breakthrough in collective consciousness. Perhaps it was the Hippies in the 60s who saw it first. To them, it was crystal clear that the consciousness revolution would sweep all before it, that within a few years' time such institutions as government, money, marriage, and school would become obsolete. Forty years later, their vision has not come to pass and, superficially at least, the defining institutions of our civilization are more powerful, more encompassing than ever. Nonetheless, to many of us much of the time, and to most of us at least once in a while, the breakthrough in consciousness the Hippies foretold seems imminent still.
Perhaps it seems imminent because, in those peak experiences when we know the true potential of our humanity, the true vastness of our minds, and the love that is the default state of existence, it seems so obvious that we have returned to our birthright and recovered our original estate. It could be a near-death experience that brings us there, a psychedelic experience, a moment in nature, giving birth, making love; it could be a religious experience, or come through a dream, music, or meditation; it can also be awakened through psychological work, a transformational seminar, even a book. Usually, though, the high does not last.
I've had many such experiences where I think, "Nothing will ever be the same again," but after a few days or weeks, I notice that I must struggle to maintain the realized state I'd been in. What was once effortless and self-evident becomes the subject of reminders and practices. The "old normal" encroaches, until I am back where I started, and the state that had felt so true and obvious becomes a mere memory. I can try to repeat the experience, but as with a drug, the second high is a little less intense than the first, and the return to baseline more rapid. Eventually I come to doubt: maybe the experience was a drug, an excursion away from reality and not, as I'd believed, something more real than the world I've come to accept. For some people, that voice swells in volume until it becomes a deafening tumult of despair. Before the experience, there was at least hope, but having entered paradise and been ejected, what is there now to live for?
So it was on a cultural level, that after the enlightenment and exuberant expectations of the sixties, much of the counterculture turned to the hedonism and consumption of the Me Decade. What a sense of betrayal we felt, as the psychedelic revolution gave way to the War on Drugs, as the Clean Air Act gave way to Ronald Reagan and James Watt ("Trees pollute more than people do.")
Happily, whether on a personal or collective level, the despair can never be complete, for the ember of the awakening experience lives on inextinguishable in our hearts. However deep the despair to which we may descend, we carry a first-hand knowledge written into our cells that there is more than Just This. Even if we know not how to return to that more beautiful world, we know it exists. This knowledge lives independently of beliefs, underneath the currents of reason and doubt and impervious to them. We cannot cultivate or practice that knowledge, but it cultivates and practices us. The first thing it does is to prevent us from whole-heartedly participating in the old normal. We can do our best to participate in the program, we can go through the motions, but deep down we know that it isn't the real thing. The effort to direct life energy at goals unworthy of our knowledge is exhausting. Eventually, our reservoirs of health and luck depleted, we enter a state of crisis. Whether it is health, relationship, money, or work-related, the crisis is a birthing from the old normal. We cannot go back, yet neither do we know how to go forward. This is a special state, the threshold between worlds. Many of us are there right now, individually; the collective human body is approaching it as well.
The purpose of this essay is to describe a paradigm of mutual care that can carry us across the threshold between worlds.
We did glimpse a more beautiful world in the 1960s, but the old normal wasn't finished yet. The story had not yet been told to its fullness. Therefore, we could not abide in the new reality; the pull of the old was too strong. To be sure, there were many individual exceptions; to this day there are unregenerate hippies living in the interstices of our realm, as invisible to us as the Taoist immortals of legend, holding the template of the next world until such time as we are ready for it. But for the most part, after the sixties people returned to the world they'd left behind, and followed it indeed to new extremes.
Forty years later, that world is falling apart at an accelerating rate. The stories that undergird our civilization are crumbling. Two are primary: the story of the self, and the story of the people. The first is the discrete, separate self, a Cartesian mote of consciousness looking out onto an objective universe of soulless masses and impersonal, deterministic forces. In biology, the separate self manifests as the paradigm of the selfish gene seeking to maximize its reproductive self-interest; in economics, it is homo economicus, who seeks to maximize rational self-interest as measured by money. In psychology, it is the skin-encapsulated ego; in religion, the soul encased in flesh but separate from it.  Such a self is naturally in opposition to all other beings, whose interests are indifferent to or at odds with its own. Spiritual teachings based on this story of self, then, tell us we must try very hard to rise above nature, to conquer our biological and economic drive to maximize self-interest at the expense of other beings.
Externalized, this war against the self manifests as the second defining story of civilization, the story of the people that I call "ascent", that says that humanity's destiny is to overcome and transcend nature. It perfectly complements the story of self, elevating the mental over the physical, the ideal over the concrete, and spirit over the body.
In describing these myths, I use the word "story" in a special sense, as an unconscious narrative that makes meaning of the world, that assigns roles to human beings, that explains the nature of life, the world, and the purpose of human existence, and that coordinates human activity. Stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. We are approaching the end of ours, of the stories upon which our civilization is built. To the extent those stories are no longer true for you, you do not feel like a full participant in this civilization.
They are becoming untrue for more and more of us, as the world built upon them falls apart. How can we believe in the conquest of nature, when because of our actions the ecological basis of civilization is threatened? How can we believe any more that the final triumph over disease is just around the corner, or an age of leisure, or space vacations, or a perfectly just society, if only we extend the realm of control just a bit further? And how can we believe any longer in the paradise of the separate self, independent of all, beholden to no one, financially secure, when we see first hand the alienation, the despair, the starvation for community that makes that paradise a hell? When depression, addiction, suicide, and family breakdown strike even the winners of the war of all against all?
Whether on a personal or collective level, we are discovering that the stories of separation are untrue. What we do unto the other, inescapably visits ourselves as well in some form. As that becomes increasingly obvious, a new story of self and story of the people becomes accessible to us. I have written of these in other essays, among them Money and the Turning of the Age, Rituals for Lover Earth, Autoimmunity, Obesity, and the Ecology of Health, and in greater depth in The Ascent of Humanity. The new story of self is the connected self, the self of interbeingness. The new story of the people is one of cocreative partnership with Lover Earth. They ring true in our hearts, we see them on the horizon, but we do not yet live yet in these new stories. It is hard to, when the institutions and habits of the old world still surround us.
Poised as we are at the transition between worlds, and traveling, many of us, back and forth between them, we need a way to enter the new one, learn to live in it, and be able to abide there. We need, in other words, a midwife. The birth metaphor is perhaps imperfect, since we are undergoing not a single, final expulsion, but a series of brief experiences of a more radiant world in which we have been unable to stay. How can we stay? How can we fully establish ourselves in a radically different way of thinking, relating, and being? Make no mistake: this revolution goes far beyond the acceptance of an idea. To know and embody as an experiential, lived, enacted reality the truth of interbeingness, to live in the spirit of the gift as appropriate to each relationship, to absolutely trust one's divinity and that of others, to know in every fiber of one's being, "I art Thou," and to navigate this knowledge with appropriate boundaries, constitutes a fundamental revolution in human beingness. Moreover, though we have entered the new territory, we lack models and maps to live in it. We need guidance, we need sacred teachings. But who are to be our teachers, when all is new?
To be sure, we have inherited teachings and models for the new world, both from visionaries who saw through the stories of separation centuries ago, and from tribes who avoided civilization long enough to transmit their knowledge to us. Much of this knowledge has been distorted through the lens of separation, but as the new stories come into focus, we can discern their original intent. For example, the usual formulation of the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," is a moral injunction that we hear as yet another version of the dictum, born of the separation of spirit and matter: "Try hard to be nice." It is a standard of behavior, something we must overcome our natural selfishness to attain. From the perspective of the connected self, though, the Golden Rule changes form to become not a rule but a reminder: "As you do unto others, so you are doing unto yourself." The intent of its original articulator is recovered.
Similarly, the Boddhisatva Vow, "I will not enter Nirvana myself until all sentient beings have entered Nirvana," lands on us as the ultimate self-sacrifice, a heroic and magnanimous vow beyond the reach of ordinary people. For the connected self of "I art Thou," however, it is merely a distorted articulation of a simple fact that we might call the Boddhisatva Realization: "It is impossible to abide in Nirvana alone. If any sentient being is left out of it, then part of me is left out of it." Only someone under the delusion that he is a discrete, separate soul would imagine otherwise.
Enlightening as these teachings might be, mere information is not enough. As many spiritual traditions recognize, a living teacher, a guru, is necessary to bring the teachings to life in their unique application to each individual. We need something from beyond our old selves, someone to illuminate our blind spots, to humble our conceit, to show us the love we didn't know we had within us. This presents a problem today, because the age of the guru is manifestly over.
No human being can hold the guru energy in post-modern society. This is old news - the age of the guru has been over for at least thirty years. In the 1960s and 70s, any number of masters came to America from the East and, absent the cultural structures that traditionally kept them in an insulated realm, succumbed one after another to scandals involving money, sex, and power. The same thing happened as well to many of the gurus who remained in the East, as even their traditional structures crumbled under the onslaught of Western cultural warfare and the money economy. In the past, to even access a guru you had to make a journey and to some extent leave the old normal behind. Now, gurus were interfacing directly with the old normal. No journey was necessary to receive a mantra; soon all that was necessary was money. This interface was perilous to guru and seeker alike.
The gurus that did not fall found ways to maintain their exclusion from a story of the world that would drag them into it. Some, like Neem Karoli Baba (died 1973), took the simple expedient of dying. Others retired or disappeared. After the 1970s, anyone who got into the guru business was quickly corrupted; the wiser ones stayed away, preferring to act as teachers, mentors, spiritual friends. Human consciousness was approaching, on a mass level, the template that had been prepared, in insulated, secret lineages and remote sanctuaries, for thousands of years. Millions were ready for what only a select few were prepared in the past. The gurus through the ages had finally succeeded: they had awoken an energy of a magnitude no single human being could contain.  For those who tried, the uncontainable energy inevitably emerged in subterranean ways as shadow and scandal, and their followers learned not only the lessons of their teachings, but also the lessons of their failures.
The difficulty, then, is that we are ready as never before for a guru, yet no single human being is capable of taking on that role. Whence are we to obtain that spiritual midwifery, "someone to illuminate our blind spots, to humble our conceit, to show us the love we didn't know we had within us"? What can bring to the masses what hidden lineages and gurus once brought to a select few? To answer that question, let us follow the trajectory of spiritual teachings after the 1970s.
What followed the demise of the guru was a new age of spiritual independence. Its motto might have been, "All that you need is within you." People trusted their own inner guru, their guidance. The spiritual teachers of this period were just that, teachers not gurus, not accorded a different category of being, but a kind of spiritual friend, a more experienced colleague. It was a time of self-improvement and doing your own spiritual work. The goal was a kind of self-sufficiency. We sought to eradicate negativity from our minds and take full responsibility for our lives. We worked on forgiveness. We sought to "manifest" health, wealth, and romance through the power of positive thinking. We resonated with teachings like, "Change yourself, change your beliefs, and reality will change along with it. All the power is within you; each person is a self-sufficient creator of his or her own reality." We sought to liberate ourselves from victim mentality, the belief that our happiness depends on the choices of others. Sure, we wanted to attract good relationships into our lives, but we didn't need anyone.
Though I am writing in the past tense, I don't mean to denigrate the beliefs I describe, nor even to say they are not true. They were true, and there is truth in them still. They are not the whole truth though, as many people are now starting to realize. For having reached the pinnacle of spiritual independence, they want something more.
A participant at one of my retreats put it like this: "I really do have it all. I run my own wellness center, I live in a beautiful house with a view of the mountains, I have manifested financial abundance, I have a fabulous relationship with my wife, who is my partner on the spiritual path. We've done the most amazing retreats, the most powerful transformational workshops, had deep experiences of altered consciousness, states of samadhi, experiences of kundalini... But this is no longer enough. There is something else, a next step, and I'm not sure what it is. It's not that I'm unhappy - I have a lot of peace, joy, and contentment in my life - but I know there is a next step."
Spiritual self-sufficiency ignores the fundamental truth of our interbeingness. Without each other, we cannot make those peak experiences, those glimpses we have all had of a more vivid way of being, into anything more than glimpses. How can we make them into a new baseline for life? How can we enter into the world that they show us, how can we redeem their promise? How can we bring into living reality the knowledge that we have been shown something true and real? Each time, the old world drags us back. The inertia of our habits and beliefs, the expectations of the people surrounding us, the way we are seen, the media, the pressures of the money system all conspire to hold us where we were. Coming off a peak experience, we may try to insulate ourselves from all these things, to live in a bubble of positivity, but eventually we realize that is impossible. The negative influences find a way to creep back in.
From the understanding of the connected self, this is entirely to be expected. Because you are not separate from me, you cannot be fully healed until I am fully healed. You cannot be enlightened until I am enlightened. This is the import of the Golden Reminder and the Boddhisatva Realization described above. Each one of us is pioneering a different aspect of the connected self in the age of reunion, and each one of us as well carries vestigial habits of the age of separation that are invisible to us or that, if visible, we are helpless to overcome on our own. Quite practically, to inhabit a more enlightened state we must be held there by a community of new habits, new ways of seeing each other, and new beliefs in action that redefine normal.
In other words, in the age of the connected self our guru can be none other than a collective, a community - as Thich Nhat Hanh put it, "The next Buddha will be a sangha." By a community, I don't mean an amorphous "we are all one" mass devoid of structure, but rather a matrix of human beings united in a common story of the people and story of the self. Aligned with these defining stories, this community can hold us in the vision of what we are becoming.
Until recently, such a community barely existed. Either we were alone, gasping for breath in an ocean of separation, or we nurtured the new ways in isolated and insulated bubbles that, with rare exceptions, quickly popped. Such bubbles cannot last very long alone; like soap bubbles, their substance evaporates unless replenished and sustained. Today it is different, because these bubbles, Ken Carey's "islands of the future in an ocean of the past," are appearing faster than they can pop, clumping together, strengthening each other, forming a connected matrix. We are reaching critical mass, a point where we can live so much surrounded by nascent institutions of the new world that we can stay there most of the time. No longer will we need to struggle to remember what those special experiences showed us was true.
Health and spiritual well-being are maintained through relationships, not through self-sufficiency. No one is so enlightened that they don't need help. Rather, they are enlightened because they receive the help they need. Enlightenment is a state of dependency. And to the extent that any other being is sick in any way, so is each of us. Every hurting person out there matches a hurting thing in here. It could be as subtle as a grain of sand in your sock: unnoticeable when major wounds are still hemorrhaging blood, but increasingly intolerable as the big wounds heal. As wholeness increases, these little things come into consciousness and become intolerable. We can no longer comfortably abide in our idyllic house with a view, eating health food, and thinking positive thoughts. Our self-sufficiency is no longer sufficient, when we feel the pain of the world echoing inside our selves.
If we try to stay in the bubble of spiritual self-sufficiency, the hurting of the world sneaks in as various of the new diseases, forcing itself upon our consciousness. Consider, for example, two of the most significant of the new diseases, MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities) and electromagnetic sensitivity.  Toxic chemicals and EMFs are the physicalization of our negativity, as well as the byproduct of our mindset of separation that sees nature as an indifferent reservoir for our wastes. For the chemically and electromagnetically sensitive, no amount of retreat is enough. Trying to avoid negativity, we have to retreat further and further, until the repeated intrusion of the world upon our serenity makes us realize we have to cleanse the whole world of toxic chemicals and all they represent, not just avoid them.
The yogic teaching, "Don't try to cover the world with leather, just wear shoes," served us well in the age of spiritual self-sufficiency, but it serves no longer, especially if taken to mean, "Heal thyself; the world is not your responsibility." That was true, for a time. It was medicine. It healed us of self-rejection and self-sacrifice. It was a necessary stage toward the next step, when we do seek to heal the world - not as an act of self-sacrifice, not at the cost of our own well-being, but as a necessary step in our own self-healing. Through our relationship to the other we heal ourselves. There is no other way.
This realization often manifests as a desire to find one's true purpose in life, one's service to the world. Such a purpose is never just about the separate egoic self. It is always about service; it is about one's gifts and how to give them. Purpose is about gift and relationship. The emerging state of vitality, joy, and love that humanity is entering is not a place where we can abide for long on our own. We need each other.
It is not only in spiritual life that this is true; the same shift is manifesting in economic life and our ecological relationships. Indeed, because spiritual well-being can only proceed to the next level through our relationships to other people, other beings, and the planet, the very word "spirituality" as distinct from social, economic, and material life is losing its relevance. Built into the concept of spirituality is the idea that some areas of human life are not spiritual. That divide between spirit and matter, between the life of the soul and the life of the flesh, is crumbling. High time, too: look at the results of treating the planet as not sacred. Look at the results of treating part of our own selves as profane. The war against the self and the conquest of nature, each mirroring the other, are coming to an end in our time as the intuitions of the connected self wax stronger.
Interdependency is something of a euphemism for what is really a form of dependency. The latter word is a trigger. Whether it is emotionally, financially, or spiritually, most people seek to avoid dependency. That, I am sorry to say, is a conceit. By our nature as ecological beings, we are helplessly dependent on other beings to survive, to thrive, even to exist. In the heyday of the age of science, we thought it human destiny to become independent of all other beings: we aspired to a wholly artificial world in which even food would be synthesized, the flesh transcended, and death overcome. No longer. We are learning, painfully, our utter dependency on the rest of nature. Interdependency is a sub-category of dependency in that it is mutual and multidirectional, but that doesn't make us any less dependent. And that is OK! To be dependent is to be alive - it is to be enmeshed in the give and take of the world. And when we allow ourselves to enter it, to release the perceived safety of self-sufficiency, we access and can sustain an intensity of being and of love that we could only glimpse before. That is because we are encompassing more of our true connected being. We are being more fully ourselves.
Humanity collectively, and many of us individually, are at a threshold between worlds. The world we are entering is both a new world for us, and a long-forgotten realm. As we step into it, we can be each other's welcoming committee. We can do for each other what a guru does for a disciple: hold each other in the knowing of who we really are, and teach each other how to live there. Each of us, as we experience our own piece of the age of reunion, becomes a guide to a small part of that vast new territory.

By Charles Eisenstein

17 iulie 2011

Are We Posessed ?

demonbig2.jpg
C. G. Jung, the great doctor of the soul and one of the most inspired psychologists of the twentieth century, had incredible insight into what is currently playing out, both individually and collectively, in our modern-day world. He writes, "If, for a moment, we look at mankind as one individual, we see that it is like a man carried away by unconscious powers." We are a species carried away -- "possessed" by -- and acting out, the unconscious. Jung elaborates, "Possession, though old-fashioned, has by no means become obsolete; only the name has changed. Formerly they spoke of 'evil spirits,' now we call them 'neurosis' or 'unconscious complexes.'" To condescendingly think that we, as modern-day, rational people, are too sophisticated to believe in something as primitive as demons is to have fallen under the spell of the very evil spirits we are imagining are nonexistent. What the ancients call demons are a psychic phenomenon which compel us to act out behaviors contrary to our best intentions. To quote Jung, "the psychic conditions which breed demons are as actively at work as ever. The demons have not really disappeared but have merely taken on another form: they have become unconscious psychic forces."
"Possession," according to Jung is "a primordial psychic phenomenon" that "denotes a peculiar state of mind characterized by the fact that certain psychic contents, the so-called complexes, take over the control of the total personality in place of the ego, at least temporarily, to such a degree that the free will of the ego is suspended." Though the possessed might imagine they have free will, their freedom is an illusion. They are unwittingly being used as an instrument for some "other" energy or force to incarnate and express itself through them. Having complexes is not necessarily pathological, as everyone has them. What is pathological, however, is thinking we don't have complexes, which is the precondition that makes us most vulnerable to possession. Jung clarifies, "Everyone knows nowadays that people 'have complexes.' What is not so well known, though far more important theoretically, is that complexes can have us." The more complexes we have, the more we are possessed. We don't need to get rid of our complexes, rather, we need to become consciously aware of them. What is important is what we do with our complexes.
Complexes are the psychic agencies which flavor and determine our psychological view of the world. To quote Jung, "The via regia [royal road] to the unconscious, however, is not the dream...but the complex, which is the author of dreams and of symptoms." Thematically organized (such as the power-complex, savior-complex, mother-complex, inferiority complex, etc.), the complexes are the vehicles that flesh out the rich repository of contents of the underlying archetypes, giving the formless archetypes a specifically human face. Complexes are the living elemental units of the psyche, acting like the focal or nodal points of psychic life, in which the energy charge of the various archetypes of the collective unconscious are concentrated. An emotionally-charged complex acts like the epicenter of a magnetic field, attracting and potentially assimilating into itself everything that has any resonance or relevance, or is related to itself in any way. This inner process can be seen as it en-acts itself in the outer world when we come in contact with someone who has an activated complex and we find ourselves drafted into their process, picking up a role in their psyche. This is an outer reflection of how a complex can attract, co-opt and subsume other parts of the environment, both inner and outer, into itself. Complexes, when split off from consciousness, can potentially engulf and possess the whole personality.
"Possession" is an interesting word. It conjures up immediate associations of the Devil, who, mythologically speaking, is the one who "possesses" us, in the demonic sense of the word. Jung, however, differentiates his meaning of the word "possession" from the meaning associated with the Catholic Church, for example, when he writes, "The Church's idea of possession, therefore, is limited to extremely rare cases, whereas I would use it in a much wider sense as designating a frequently occurring psychic phenomenon." Possession, psychologically speaking, is to identify with a complex of the unconscious, and become taken over by it such that we act it out in, as and through our lives. Who among us hasn't done this? Who among us shall cast the first stone?
Synchronistically, as I write this article, multiple examples of people becoming possessed by and en-acting their unconscious on the world stage happened for everyone to see. Tennis star Serena Williams "losing it" when she fell into a rage at the U. S. Open, Republican congressman Joe Wilson's unrestrained outburst, yelling "You lie," during President Obama's speech in front of congress, and rapper Kanye West melting down and rudely interrupting and ruining country singer Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards all illustrate exactly what I am pointing at. They were all "taken over by something."
Jung writes, "since the world began, mankind has been possessed." Possession is synonymous with bondage. Jung comments that in states of possession it comes down to "the same age-old experience: something objectively psychic and strange to us, not under our control, is fixedly opposed to the sovereignty of our will." Possession means being supplanted by something stronger, being taken over and "owned" by something other than ourselves. Jung says, "Wherever we are still attached, we are still possessed; and when we are possessed, there is one stronger than us who possesses us." We've all had moments where we've been possessed by something, where we've felt "not ourselves," where we are no longer identical with ourselves. Some of us spend our whole lives living someone else's life instead of our own. We've all had moments where "something" has gotten into us, where we feel out of sorts, beside ourselves. When deeper, primordial archetypes seize us, Jung writes, "They easily catch hold of you and you are possessed as if they were lions or bears, say -- primitive forces which are quite definitely stronger than you."
At any moment any one of us can become "possessed" by the unconscious in a way such that a more powerful energy than our conscious ego moves and animates us. To quote Jung, "it easily happens to any one of us that we do not act through our own volition. Then I cannot say I do, but it is done through me; something takes possession of me, the very action can take possession of me." When we have fallen into our unconscious and compulsively en-act an unconscious complex, we become manipulated by more powerful forces than ourselves. In Jung's words, a person then becomes "the devil's marionette. This could happen only because he believed he had abolished the demons by declaring them to be superstition. He overlooked the fact that they were, at bottom, the products of certain factors in the human psyche." In dismissing the demons as being mere illusions without realizing their psychological reality, we unwittingly become possessed by them. The demons are ultimately split-off, rejected, and disowned parts of the psyche that are experienced as alien and other than who we imagine ourselves to be (please see my article, "Meeting the Other Within"). The demons, psychologically speaking, are very real, in that they alter our experience of ourselves. Jung says, "As a rule there is a marked unconsciousness of any complexes, and this naturally guarantees them all the more freedom of action. In such cases their powers of assimilation become especially pronounced, since unconsciousness helps the complex to assimilate even the ego, the result being a momentary and unconscious alteration of personality known as identification with the complex. In the Middle Ages it went by another name; it was called possession." We, as "modern" people, to the extent we are acting out our unconscious, are as much "plagued" by possession as people in the Middle Ages.
Jung comments, "in all cases identification with the unconscious [complex] brings a weakening of consciousness, and herein lies the danger. You do not 'make' an identification, you do not 'identify yourself,' but you experience your identity with the archetype in an unconscious way and so are possessed by it." Anything we are unconsciously identical with we are possessed by, and hence, compelled to act out in our life without understanding why. Though we have dismissed the idea of demons on the altar of our rationality, to quote Jung, "...man himself has taken over their role without knowing it and does the devilish work of destruction with far more effective tools than the spirits did. In the olden days men were brutal, now they are dehumanized and possessed to a degree that even the blackest Middle Ages did not know." More than ever, current-day humanity is certainly acting as if it's a species possessed. Eminent theologian and 9/11 Truth Activist David Ray Griffin writes, "It does seem that we are possessed by some demonic power that is leading us, trancelike, into self-destruction."
Jung comments, "...an unknown  ‘something' has taken possession of a smaller or greater portion of the psyche and asserts its hateful and harmful existence undeterred by all our insight, reason, and energy, thereby proclaiming the power of the unconscious over the conscious mind, the sovereign power of possession." When we are possessed we are not free, we are not masters in our own house. When we are possessed by the unconscious, we become dissociated from ourselves such that, as Jung writes, there is "a tearing loose of part of one's nature; it is the disappearance and emancipation of a complex, which thereupon becomes a tyrannical usurper of consciousness, oppressing the whole man. It throws him off course and drives him to actions whose blind one-sidedness inevitably leads to self-destruction."

Autonomous Complexes
"Autonomous complexes" are parts of the psyche which have split-off due to shock, trauma, or breach of our boundaries, and have developed a seemingly autonomous life and apparently independent will of their own. Though we are unconsciously identified with them, autonomous complexes are subjectively experienced as other than ourselves. Apart from their inherent obscurity and strangeness, our unconscious identification with autonomous complexes is the essential reason why it is so hard to get a handle on them. Autonomous complexes act upon us, they feel like our most intimate self, eventually need to be owned, but paradoxically, don't belong to us. The seeming autonomy of the archetypes and complexes is what gives rise to the idea of supernatural beings. Endowed with a numinous energy, autonomous complexes are what our ancestors used to call "demons." Autonomous complexes are a psychological name for the demons in the archetypal process of addiction that animate us to compulsively act out our addictive behavior. A demon or autonomous complex, to quote Jung, "behaves like an animated foreign body in the sphere of consciousness. The complex can usually be suppressed, with an effort of will, but not argued out of existence, and at the first suitable opportunity it reappears in all its original strength." Due to their lack of association with the conscious ego, autonomous complexes are typically not open to being influenced, educated, nor corrected by "reality." An intruder from the unconscious and a disturber of the peace, an autonomous complex, Jung points out, "behaves exactly like a goblin that is always eluding our grasp." If left un-reflected upon, these demons or autonomous complexes wreak havoc for everyone within their sphere of influence.
Jung writes, "...any autonomous complex not subject to the conscious will exerts a possessive effect on consciousness proportional to its strength and limits the latter's freedom." As it takes over and becomes in charge of a person, a complex incorporates a seemingly autonomous regime within the greater body politic of the psyche. Writing about autonomous complexes, Jung says "...the complex forms something like a shadow government of the ego," in that the complex dictates to the ego. When we are taken over by and in internal conflict with and because of an autonomous complex, it is as if we, as natural rulers of our own psychic landscape, have been deposed, and are living in an occupied country. We are allowed our seeming freedom as long as it doesn't threaten the sovereignty and dominance of the ruling power. Jung comments, "...a man does not notice it when he is governed by a demon; he puts all his skill and cunning at the service of his unconscious master, thereby heightening its power a thousandfold." Being nonlocal, this inner, psychological situation can manifest both within our psyche and out in the world at the same time.
Demons or autonomous complexes have a possessive and obsessive effect on consciousness. Interestingly, the word "obsession" originally meant to be under the influence of an evil "possession." Obsession refers to certain ideas that have taken possession of the person. We can become possessed by unshakable ideas of the way things should be or who we think we are, oppressing and tyrannizing both ourselves and others who hold a different viewpoint in the process. Jung writes, "The idea is like an autonomous being that wants a body so much that it even incarnates in the body; one begins to play, to perform the idea, and then people say one is completely mad. The idea has taken possession of one till it is as if one were out of one's mind." Millions of our species have killed and been killed over a fixed idea.
Commandeering and colonizing our psyche, a split-off, autonomous complex is, potentially, like a "vampiric virus," in that it is fundamentally "dead" matter; it is only in a living being that it acquires a quasi-life. Just like a vampire re-vitalizes itself by sucking our life-force, when we unconsciously identify with an activated autonomous complex, we are literally animating and en-livening the undead. Complicit in our own victimization, we then unwittingly give away our freedom, power, and life-force in the process.
Like cancer cells ravaging the body, dis-associated, autonomous complexes are like "splinter psyches" that can become overly swollen with psychic energy, and then will propagate and metastasize themselves within the psyche, consuming, devouring, and cannibalizing the healthy aspects of the psyche. Drawing and attracting all of the wholesome parts of the psyche into itself, an autonomous complex can potentially warp and destroy the psyche of the person (or nation) so afflicted, nonlocally infecting and spreading by psychic contagion its malaise to the surrounding field in the process.
An autonomous complex can't stand to be seen, however, in much the same way that a vampire detests the light. A demon or autonomous complex will shape-shift and do everything in its power to resist being illumined, for once it is seen, its autonomy and omnipotence are taken away. Anchored, connected and related to consciousness, the demon or autonomous complex can then no longer vaporize back into the unconscious, which is to say it is no longer able to possess us from behind and beneath our conscious awareness so as to compel us to unwittingly act it out and do its bidding (please see my article "Shedding Light on Evil").

Finding the Name
When we "see" a demon, we know its name, which helps us to get a "handle" on it. Naming is exorcistic, as it dis-spells the demon's power over us. Jung says that "The act of naming is, like baptism, extremely important as regards the creation of personality, for a magical power has been attributed to the name since time immemorial. To know the secret name of a person [or a demon] is to have power over him." Elsewhere, Jung writes, "For mankind it was always like a deliverance from a nightmare when the new name was found." Finding the name is an act of power. Jung comments, "The moment you can designate the lived archetype by its symbol, you feel relieved, that is a good and positive moment even if it is horrible...Therefore old Egyptian medicine consisted in giving the thing the right name...A new name always produces an extraordinary effect; we cannot rationalize these things, they cast a spell, they are symbols, they really do influence the unconscious as the unconscious influences us."
It is very important for us to re-introduce the words "demon" and "possession" back into our vocabulary, minus the fear that we will be seen as being primitive, crazy or even possessed ourselves if we use such words. We need to expand our psycho-spiritual fluency to enable us to navigate the living waters of our inner and outer landscapes. Being "possessed by demons" - taken over by unconscious, psychic forces - is something that happens to all of us, and it is to our great advantage to be able to properly name our experience. Finding the name empowers us to creatively engage with these parts of ourselves that are emerging from the shadows "in the name of healing."
How do we make a word? We "spell" it. In finding the words for our experience, we are casting a "positive spell" whose nonlocal orbit and influence is liberating. We are then able to consciously language and give voice to our experience, which is to step into and access the creative spirit. In learning new, creative ways to express ourselves, we are dis-spelling the curse we were under of not being able to symbolize our experience. In learning to consciously spell-cast, the world is no longer written in stone, with us as its passive victims, as we realize and tap into the creative and transformative power of the Word, the Logos. As it says in the Bible, "And first was the word. And the word was with God. And the word was God." Creating a new language so as to re-create ourselves anew, we step into the archetypal figures of the "Wounded Healer" (read Part 1 and Part 2), and the "Creative Artist." In animating these archetypal figures, we actively and creatively participate in our own evolutionary process, expanding and refining the ways we tel-empathically commune and telepathically communicate with each other, as well as with ourselves.
In addition, part of re-establishing the words "demon" and "possession" as meaning-filled is to complement these words with the idea that if we have a reaction and become "triggered" by these words, the figure within us who is being triggered might be the very demon who is possessing us (please see my article "Triggered by Evil"). I've coined the name "NonLocal Demon" ("NLD" for short) to "capture" this elusive, mercurial and nonlocal demon that "haunts" our world. Like minting a coin, when we coin a phrase and find the name, we create currency in the realm of mind with which to engage in commerce with each other, as well as with ourselves. This is to generate consciousness, which is something of genuine value. Once we see how the NLD clandestinely operates throughout the underlying field of consciousness by hiding and obfuscating itself through our unconscious, hooking and insinuating itself into our blind spots, we have simultaneously taken away its power and empowered ourselves, creating a wealth of new ways for us to creatively respond that were previously unavailable. Being nonlocal, one of the ways the NLD incarnates itself is through our internal, unconscious re-actions to encountering the myriad and ever shape-shifting forms and guises of the NLD in the outer world. The way to most effectively deal with a demon is to courageously turn our attention upon what it triggers inside of us. The Gnostic text "The Gospel of Philip" says,

So long as the root of wickedness is hidden, it is strong. But when it is recognized, it is dissolved When it is revealed, it perishes...As for ourselves, let us each dig down after the root of evil which is within each of us, and produces its fruit in our hearts. It masters us. We are its slaves. It takes us captive, to make us do what we do not want, and what we do want, we do not do. It is powerful because we have not recognized it. (II, 3, 83.5-30)
The source of the demons lies within ourselves. As compared to existing "by virtue" of something, demons can only live by the "lack of virtue" of our own obscured and unexamined minds. The above Gnostic quote brings to mind Paul's famous passage from the New Testament, "That which I would do, I do not, and that which I would not do, I do." (Romans 7:15 King James version), which is a clear and simple expression of our human proclivity for possession if there ever was one. An un-illumined and unrecognized autonomous complex diabolically compels us to act out contrary to our best intentions, as any of us who've struggled with any form of addictive behavior knows from our own experience. Being possessed by demons is a problem as old as humanity.
We are all potential shamans and healers, for as we metabolize the darkness and assimilate our own demons, we add light to and nonlocally "lighten-up" the collective shadow for everyone (please see my article, "We are all Shamans-in-Training"). If the demons are not integrated, neither is the human soul, which is to say that embracing and integrating our demons is critical to the evolution of the soul. Jung ponders, "How can evil be integrated? There is only one possibility: to assimilate it, that is to say, raise it to the level of consciousness." Raising the demons to the level of consciousness takes away their autonomous existence, as they rejoin the profound unity of the psyche. Jung comments, "Then the opus magnum [the ‘great work' of alchemy] is finished; the human soul is completely integrated." (please see my article, "The Sacred Art of Alchemy").

The Daemonic
To quote noted psychologist Rollo May, the daemonic is "any natural function which has the power to take over the whole person [or whole nation]...the daemonic can be either creative or destructive [i.e., demonic]...violence is the daemonic gone awry...ages [such as ours] tend to be times when the daemonic is expressed in its most destructive form." The daemonic is not an objectively existing metaphysical entity in the Christian sense, but is an archetypal function of human experience, a psychic as well as an existential reality in which we all participate.
The daemonic is an archetypal energy which can take over a person, group or a nation. Jung writes, "We know that an archetype can break with shattering force into an individual human life and into the life of a nation." Archetypes are living, dynamic entities, psychological instincts or informational fields of influence that provide the underlying template which patterns human behavior, perception and experience. The daemonic announces itself by drafting people into its service, enlisting human beings as instruments of its full-bodied revelation of itself. Jung comments, "One does not realize yet that when an archetype is unconsciously constellated and not consciously understood, one is possessed by it and forced to its fatal goal." The daemonic expresses itself by conscripting us to its cause and compelling us to unconsciously act it out so as to give living form to itself in the third dimension.
The word daemonic is related to "the devil," which in turn is related to the word diabolic, whose inner meaning is to divide, separate, and dis-integrate. Being divisive, the diabolic splits us into multiple fragmented and compartmentalized pieces. Jung comments, "Possession by the unconscious means being torn apart into many people and things, a disiunctio. That is why, according to Origen [an early Christian theologian], the aim of the Christian is to become an inwardly united human being." Becoming a true follower of Christ, who is symbolic of the wholly integrated Self, is to transform the diabolical nature of the disiunctio into a sacred coniunctio, where all the parts of the psyche are connected and the opposites unite. This is why the greatest protection against demons is to be in touch with our intrinsic wholeness, which is to be "self-possessed," -- in possession of the part of ourselves that is not possess-able, which is the Self, the wholeness of our being. The antonym of diabolic is the word symbolic, which, in addition to being the language of dreams, means to unite, bring together and integrate. The daemonic is a quantum phenomenon, in that it contains both the symbolic and diabolic encoded within it in a superposed state, which is to say that hidden within the daemonic is the creative seeds of its own transformation. Both constructive and destructive forces are fully present in the daemonic simultaneously, and either energy can potentially manifest, depending upon how an observing consciousness interacts with it.
To quote Jung, "...the daemon of the inner voice is at once our greatest danger and an indispensable help." Hidden in the daemonic is our inner voice, our guiding spirit, our angel, and our genius. Jung refers to the daemonic as the "not yet realized creative," which is to say it is creativity not yet "made real" or actualized by the ego. Developing a healthy and strong ego is crucially important in entering into relationship with and creatively expressing the daemonic energies within us. One of the most destructive things in the human psyche is unrealized creativity.
If the daemonic is not honored and treated religiously (i.e., carefully considered with reverence and a sense of the sacred), however, it constellates negatively and turns truly "demonic," in the destructive sense of the word. Jung comments, "Generally speaking the daemonic is that moment when an unconscious content of seemingly overwhelming power appears on the threshold of consciousness. It can cross this threshold and seize hold of the personality. Then it is possession." Before an archetype can be consciously integrated, it will always manifest itself physically, because, in Jung's words, "...it forces the subject into its own form." In its negative form, which is a truly virulent form of madness, we, because of our unconsciousness, become a living conduit for the incarnation of an inhuman, malevolent, predatory, rapacious energy that only cares about feeding its own insatiable narcissism, ultimately victimizing, consuming, and cannibalizing both ourselves and others in the process. Describing this moment of being possessed, Jung elaborates, "The beast of prey seizes hold of him and soon makes him forget that he is a human being. His animal affects hamper any reflection that might stand in the way of his infantile wish-fulfillments, filling him instead with a feeling of a new-won right to existence and intoxicating him with the lust for booty and blood." This in-toxic-ating energy, which is the narcissistic ego running wild as it entrances itself, is the fuel which animates any form of addiction. "Intoxication," to quote Jung, is "that most direct and dangerous form of possession," as unless it is reflected upon, and therefore illuminated and transformed by the light of consciousness, it inevitably leads to self-destruction.
Jung reminds us that "Insanity is possession by an unconscious content that, as such, is not assimilated to consciousness, nor can it be assimilated since the very existence of such conditions is denied." We then fall into the infinite regression and self-perpetuating feedback loop of denying we are in denial, a self-created strain of madness that I have given the name "malignant egophrenia," or "ME disease" for short. This is a form of self-deception, dissociation and psychic blindness in which we are ultimately lying to and hiding from ourselves. At a certain point this process entrenches itself within the psyche such that it develops sufficient momentum to seemingly become its own self-generating, autonomous entity. We've then become a "problem" to ourselves, creating our own Frankenstein monster in the process, and it is us. We can then be said to be the incarnation of ME disease in the flesh, its revelation in human form. Similar to being possessed by a demon, being taken over by ME disease is simultaneously its own self-revelation; encoded within the apparent pathology is its own medicine.
One of the main ways that demons become empowered within us is when we are unconscious of our shadow. Jung says, "Anyone who is unaware of his shadow is too wonderful, too good, he has a wrong idea of himself, and to that extent such a person is possessed." The extent to which we are unconscious of our shadow is the extent to which we are unaware of our potential to unwittingly enact our unconscious in a way which could be hurtful. Jung writes, "If we don't see the negative side of what we do, what we are, we are possessed...Only through understanding of unconscious aspects, as a rule, can we liberate ourselves from possession." Understanding "unconscious aspects" is to shed light on darker, asleep parts of ourselves - "the negative side of what we do" -- which is essentially the act of becoming conscious. The demons act themselves out through our psychic blind-spots. Jung comments, "...the demon that is always with you is the shadow following after you, and it is always where your eyes are not."
The places where we are possessed by our unconscious are the places in ourselves where we are not able to see, where "our eyes are not," where we are unable to self-reflectively speculate. Symbolically, this is like a vampire who casts no reflection in the mirror. Jung writes, "Since nobody is capable of recognizing just where and how much he himself is possessed and unconscious, he simply projects his own condition upon his neighbor, and thus it becomes a sacred duty to have the biggest guns and the most poisonous gas." Interestingly, Jung simply refers to "shadow projection," a process in which we project our own un-embraced aspects (our "own condition") onto our neighbor, as "the lie." One of the meanings of the word "devil" is "the liar." (Please see my articles "Shadow Projection: The Fuel of War," and "Shadow Projection is its Own Medicine"). Projecting our shadow onto others is an activity which is itself an expression of the devil who is hiding within us, lurking behind the projection. Speaking about how easy it is for the "demons" to find a new victim, Jung comments, "...that won't be difficult. Every man who loses his shadow, every nation that falls into self-righteousness, is their prey."
Jung comments on the state of being possessed by an archetype such as the daemonic when he writes, "For an archetype has a life of its own; the life that is proper and peculiar to the archetype shows its autonomy by the fact that it can swallow one's own life. It is so strong that one can be swallowed up into it and be nothing but that archetype. Of course, one does not know it." The formless, invisible archetype has in-formed itself and made itself visible through the person, group or nation which it seizes. They can be said to be the living incarnation of the archetype, as they are its full-blown revelation in form.
An essential quality of being possessed by the unconscious is that we don't know we're possessed, for if we knew, we wouldn't be possessed. To quote Jung, "When you are just at one with a thing you are completely identical - you cannot comprehend it, you cannot discriminate, you cannot recognize it." When we are identical with something, we are not able to differentiate ourselves from it, which is to say, we have no freedom of choice relative to that with which we are unconsciously identified. When we identify with and act out the unconscious, we are truly unconscious.
Jung conjectures, "suppose I am identical with an archetype; I don't know it and the archetype of course won't tell me, because I am already possessed and inundated by the archetype...Just as I pay no attention to the hammer I use; I use it and afterwards I throw it away. It is not a personal hammer. That is the way the archetype uses man, simply as an instrument, as a tool of a most transitory kind." Even though an archetype expresses itself through individuals, an archetype is impersonal. Archetypes enlist us for their purposes, taking possession of us like a piece of property, and drop us when we are no longer of use. Jung continues, "But the man is of course in an awful situation. He is possessed, and he cannot defend himself, for he doesn't even know that he is possessed, and that is a wonderful opportunity for the unconscious." Not knowing we are possessed by the unconscious, it is as if the parents aren't home, creating an opportunity for the kids (the unconscious) to act out without restraint.
Jung says, "The forces that burst out of the collective psyche have a confusing and blinding effect." The emergence of unconscious forces out of the collective unconscious typically evokes confusion and blindness, i.e., unconsciousness. Jung continues, "...as the influence of the collective unconscious increases, so the conscious mind loses its power of leadership. Imperceptibly it becomes the led, while an unconscious and impersonal process gradually takes control. Thus, without noticing it, the conscious personality is pushed about like a figure on a chess-board by an invisible player. It is this player who decides the game of fate, not the conscious mind and its plans." It is as if an invisible coup has taken place within the psyche. Falling into self-deception, the conscious mind is under the illusion that it is deciding, that it is in control, while it is actually being led and manipulated like a puppet. To quote W. H. Auden, "We are lived by Powers we pretend to understand."
Jung says, "The devil is the aping shadow of God." When we are possessed by the unconscious, a more powerful, archetypal energy shape-shifts and takes on our seeming form, which we absorb into, identify with and believe to be who we are. Bamboozled and hoodwinked by the slick "salesmanship" of this imposter of ourselves, we "buy" into its version of who we are. We then live a simulation of ourselves, miming ourselves, becoming a master copy, a duplicate of our original selves. To the extent we are unconsciously possessed by the daemon, it is as if a psychic parasite has taken over our brain and tricked us, its host, into thinking we are feeding and empowering ourselves while we are actually nourishing the parasite. It is as if our soul has become hijacked by a deeper, archetypal force, and has been replaced with a pale imitation of ourselves, and, to the extent we are taken over, we don't even realize it. Archetypes, Jung points out, "have the most disagreeable quality of appearing in your own guise." The spirit of the unconscious impersonates us, fooling even ourselves, as it cloaks itself in our form. This mercurial spirit has "put us on" as a disguise, appearing as ourselves, or at least who we imagine ourselves to be.

Forfeiting Humanity
Describing the experience of being led and taken over by the unconscious, Jung continues, "whenever a powerful content emerges from the unconscious, which we cannot yet grasp with our consciousness, there is a danger that the whole ego-consciousness will be pulled down into the unconscious and dissolved...Consciousness is completely emptied, because its contents are attracted by the unconscious as by a magnet. This process leads to a complete loss of the ego, so that the person in question becomes a mere automaton. Such a person is actually no longer there." How many people do we know, including at times even ourselves, who zombie-like, compulsively and mechanically enact their habitual patterns with no spontaneity or creativity, like a programmed robot?
Jung says, "One can only alter one's attitude and thus save oneself from naively falling into an archetype and being forced to act a part at the expense of one's humanity. Possession by an archetype turns a man into a flat collective figure, a mask behind which he can no longer develop as a human being, but becomes increasingly stunted." When we are possessed by an archetype, it's as if we are frozen back in time, akin to what happens in trauma, where we become fixated in a rigidified and self-reinforcing point of view. Unconsciously identified with the "persona," the façade personality that we've created for protection and present to the world, we have no real depth, and stop growing and evolving. "Altering" our attitude would be to step out of our "alter-personality," which is to stop compulsively and ritualistically worshipping at the "altar" of the false self, and step into our authentic self.
Jung elaborates on the process of falling under the spell of an activated archetype when he writes, "...an archetype is mobilized within him which affects him like a narcotic. That is typical; when you get into a situation where an archetype becomes constellated, you will undergo this peculiar hypnotic effect; you fall asleep rather suddenly. It has a peculiar fascination which makes you unconscious." The image of Dorothy and friends falling asleep in the poppy field as they approach the Emerald City in the movie "The Wizard of Oz" symbolically expresses this arche-typical situation of falling under a spell as we approach the sacred.
Jung points out that "The potentialities of the archetype, for good and evil alike, transcend our human capacities many times, and a man can appropriate its power only by identifying with the daemon, by letting himself be possessed by it, thus forfeiting his own humanity." In unconsciously identifying with and becoming possessed by the daemon, on the personal, human level we forfeit our humanity and become an empty shell. At the same time, however, we access, become channels for and are inflated by a more powerful, archetypal, and nonhuman energy to come through us. When we are possessed by an archetype, we are a paradoxical juxtaposition of subhuman and superhuman qualities at the same time.
Jung continues, "...anyone possessed by an archetype cannot help having all the symptoms of an inflation. For the archetype is nothing human; no archetype is properly human. The archetype itself is an exaggeration and it reaches beyond the confines of humanity...So anybody possessed by an archetype develops inhuman qualities." When we become taken over by an archetype we become inflated, unconsciously identifying with God-like powers while simultaneously forgetting our humanity. Jung clarifies, "...we see the characteristic effect of the archetype: it seizes hold of the psyche with a kind of primeval force and compels it to transgress the bounds of humanity. It causes exaggeration, a puffed-up attitude (inflation), loss of free will, delusion, and enthusiasm in good and evil alike." Interestingly, one of the meanings of the word "evil," etymologically speaking, is to transgress boundaries.
Continuing his description of the state of being possessed by an archetype, Jung says "...when a person has an unconscious content - say a certain archetype is constellated - then his conscious, not realizing what the matter is, will be filled with the emanation or radiation of that activated archetype. And then he behaves unconsciously as if he were that archetype, but he expresses the identity in terms of his ego personality...For he unconsciously plays a role and tries to represent something which he has taken to be his own self." Behaving as if he, as an ego, were that archetype, he plays a mythical, archetypal role and unconsciously identifies with it ("which he has taken to be his own self"), fooling himself, and potentially others, in the process. Jung continues, "You see, the unconscious activated archetype is like a rising sun, a source of energy or warmth which warms up the ego personality from within, and then the ego personality begins to radiate as if it were God-knows-what." The formless archetype takes on and expresses itself through the limited and particular form of the ego personality. The activated archetype transfigures the ego from within so as to suit its purposes. Jung continues, "It is a psychological fact that an archetype can seize hold of the ego and even compel it to act as it - the archetype - wills. A man can then take on archetypal dimensions and exercise corresponding effects."

Influencing the Field
Conflated with and inflated by the hypnotically fascinating psychic force-field of the archetype, people so possessed become mouthpieces and amplifiers for the archetype to transmit and nonlocally extend and incarnate itself throughout the field of consciousness. Jung writes, "people who constellate an archetype have such a hypnotic effect." People who are gripped by an archetype have a gripping effect on others; when we are under the fascination of an archetype, we unwittingly have a fascinating influence on others. Jung makes the point that "identification with an archetypal figure lend almost superhuman force to the ordinary man." People who are possessed by their unconscious have a very magnetic, charismatic and "possessive" effect upon others' unconscious. The part of them that is bewitched evokes the corresponding suggestible and bedeviled part of others' psyche and hooks it, spell-binding it and entraining it into its archetypal spin. In other words, when someone is possessed by an archetype, they are literally the channel through which that archetype, both locally and nonlocally, is materializing in the field, which is to say they wield great energetic influence on their surroundings. Jung says, "But the power of the archetype is not controlled by us; we ourselves are at its mercy to an unsuspected degree...because everyone is in some degree ‘possessed' by his specifically human preformation, he is held fast and fascinated by it and exercises the same influence on others without being conscious of what he is doing. The danger is just this unconscious identification with the archetype." To the extent we are identified with and hence possessed by the archetype, is the extent to which we are not conscious of the corresponding influence we have on others' unconscious. This is a dangerous situation because it is unconsciously being en-acted in such a way that guarantees that we will abuse our unresolved power issues to the extent that we stay unconscious.
Jung gets right to the point when he writes, "When someone is able to perform the art of touching on the archetypal, he can play on the souls of people like on the strings of a piano." Connecting with the archetypal is like plucking a higher-dimensional chord of our being, which immediately activates a resonance in the collective unconscious in whoever hears it. Just like the pendulum with the strongest swing entrains all the other pendulums into its swing, the person who is channeling the living power of the deeper, archetypal force can potentially en-train and en-trance others. This power can be used for the highest good - helping people to awaken - or it can be used for the deepest evil so as to manipulate, dis-empower and enslave other people. Being archetypal, this energy is fundamentally neither good nor bad, but can potentially manifest either way depending upon our intent.
Speaking of the hypnotic power of the archetype, Jung writes, "It gets you below the belt and not in your mind, your brain just counts for nothing, your sympathetic system is gripped. It is a power that fascinates people from within, it is the collective unconscious which is activated, it is an archetype which is common to them all that has come to life." When an archetype is constellated, rational logic and facts have no effect. The deep emotion which is characteristic of an activated archetype ensures that, to quote Jung, "...the possibility of reason's having any effect ceases and its place is taken by slogans and chimerical wish-fantasies. That is to say, a sort of collective possession results which rapidly develops into a psychic epidemic." Being unconsciously identified with an archetype is extremely dangerous, in that it is at the root of both individual and collective psychoses. Our tendency to unknowingly fall into the grip of an archetype is animating what is being acted out in the world theater, which is to say that the origin of world events is the unconscious of humanity (please see my article "It's All in the Psyche").
Jung writes "Nobody can realize an archetype without having been identified with it first." Speaking of our initial tendency to identify with and become hooked by activated archetypes, Jung continues, "...you cannot realize them without having been thoroughly caught by them." No one can realize their daemon without first having been unconsciously identified with it, which is to say, caught by it, and hence, possessed by it. In the process of integration, we have to learn to experience our archetypal daemon from the outside as well as from the inside. Experiencing the archetype from the outside means to experience it objectively, as other than ourselves, which is to separate ourselves from it, for an archetype, in Jung's words, "...can be truly understood only if experienced as an autonomous entity." Ultimately, we have to eventually both see the archetype as an object outside of ourselves as well as experience what it's like relative to us, which is an experience within ourselves.
Maybe there's a hidden reason in the deeper plan of things why we, as a species, have a tendency to be taken over by our unconscious. Jung points out that "...autonomous complexes are among the normal phenomena of life and that they make up the structure of the unconscious psyche." Having autonomous complexes, or having a spare demon or two in our closet, is a "normal" human phenomenon, something we all possess at the same time that it possesses us. Identifying with our unconscious such that we act it out, i.e., being possessed, seems to be a natural expression of the human experience. Might there be a hidden evolutionary potential, an underlying teleology, a mysterious purpose or goal, which is possessing us to act as we do?
Perhaps we are being dreamed up to be the very instruments and midwives through which the archetypes transform themselves, the world, and ourselves as well. Becoming possessed by the unconscious is, paradoxically, the way we learn how not to be possessed, which we clearly haven't learned yet, or we wouldn't be possessed. By differentiating ourselves from the archetype, we make it conscious, while creating ourselves relative to it. In relating to the archetype consciously, we do not fall under the thrall of the archetype, but are able to mediate, humanize and channel its transpersonal energies and contents in a constructive, creative and life-enhancing way. As we connect with each other through our lucidity, we can potentially become a vehicle through which the archetypes themselves transform and evolve, which instantaneously, and nonlocally, has a transformative and evolutionary effect throughout the entire collective field of consciousness.
Mythologically speaking, the figure of the "would-be-hero," which is all of us in potential, is always inhabited by a daemon. Having a daemon taking up residence inside of us is the very thing that "makes" us a hero. Our heroic fight against the paralyzing grip of the daemon is initiatory, in that it calls forth our latent, creative powers. In coming to terms and wrestling with our daemon, which is to say ourselves, we create ourselves. The daemon is the source of all creativity. It takes genuine courage to do battle with these internal forces and wrest from them the mythic "treasure hard to attain," which is none other than our soul-filled selves. Jung comments, "As the result of the political situation and the frightful, not to say diabolic, triumphs of science, we are shaken by secret shudders and dark forebodings; but we know no way out, and very few persons indeed draw the conclusion that this time the issue is the long-since-forgotten soul of man."
When we realize an archetype such as the daemonic, we are able, from the inside out, to channel its transpersonal power into a creative, soul-full, life-giving spirit that comes from a source beyond our ego. Encoded in the daemonic is everything we need for our healing and self-realization, as if the daemonic is a compensation of the deeper unified and unifying field of consciousness, offering us exactly what is required for us to wake up. The demons are like psychic nautilus machines that we are dreaming up to help us develop our muscles of realization. Alchemically transmuting on the spot the potential destructiveness of the demonic into stimulators of our own creative lucidity, we give birth to our daemon, our guiding spirit. Or rather, in that moment our daemon gives birth to us.
Realizing an archetype such as the daemonic is to realize ourselves as an active, participatory agent in the creation of our experience of ourselves relative to the world. This realization comes with great responsibility. We are offered a choice: either we continue to destroy ourselves, or we learn together how to create a new world. Everything depends upon our recognizing what is being revealed to us as we act our unconscious out in the world. The emergence of the daemonic in our world is both potentially and actually the doorway into and revelation of the light. Being a function of our consciousness, how the daemonic materializes - as the deepest, destructive evil, or as creative genius, depends upon nothing other than how we dream it. Jung comments, "The archetype is spirit or anti-spirit: what it ultimately proves to be depends on the attitude of the human mind."
When we become possessed by the unconscious, we become unconsciously taken over by our primal, animal-like instincts in such a way that we regress, devolve and fall into our lower nature. Jung elaborates, "Only the animal man can be possessed...It is easier to talk or to argue with a dog or a cow than with someone possessed by such a figure. For nothing that one says permeates, it is impossible to pierce the wall they put up, it is a wall of unconscious beliefs, and people behind the wall cannot be reached. They are totally inaccessible. There is no access because the human being is degraded to the state of an animal, and the thing that seems to function is not a divine being, it is a ghost." I imagine we all know people like this, people who are under a spell such that there is really no talking with them, as they perversely take in and interpret whatever reflection is being offered of their unconsciousness as evidence of the rightness of their deluded point of view. Psychologically speaking, they are possessed, as if an "entity" has taken them over, they are no longer there, and they have no idea, literally, of their situation. When a group of people in this condition enter into agreement about the "truth," and become card-carrying members of a dogmatic "ism," a collective psychosis is being brewed in the cauldron of the collective unconscious.

Collective Psychosis
Jung never tired of warning that the greatest danger that faces humanity is to unwittingly fall into our unconscious en masse such that we become instruments for a psychic epidemic to wreak havoc in the world, just like we see today (please see my article, "Diagnosis: Psychic Epidemic"). Jung writes that psychic epidemics "...are infinitely more devastating than the worst of natural catastrophes. The supreme danger which threatens individuals as well as whole nations is a psychic danger." We are in the midst of a collective psychosis that has become so normalized that very few people are even talking about it, which is itself an expression of our collective madness. (please see my article, "Why Don't We See our Collective Madness"?) Jung writes, "...collective psychoses are based on a constellated archetype, though of course this fact is not taken into account at all. In this respect our attitude is still characterized by a prodigious unconsciousness."
Once these archetypal contents become activated in the unconscious, Jung elaborates, it is like "they have taken possession of certain individuals, irresistibly draw them together by mutual attraction and knit them into smaller or larger groups which may easily swell into an avalanche." People who have fallen into their unconscious naturally attract and connect with each other, as they reciprocally reinforce each others' madness. An impenetrable bubble of shared, rigid beliefs gets conjured up around them which deflects and resists any self-reflection which threatens their fixed worldview. Anyone who reflects back their unconscious state is demonized and seen as a heretic, blasphemer and enemy.
Though using individuals as its instruments, evil needs the unconscious masses for its genesis and proliferation on the world stage. Masses are always breeding grounds of psychic epidemics. In a collective psychosis there is a herd mentality, where people stop thinking for themselves and let others think for them, like sheep ("sheeple") who just follow wherever they are being led. Jung writes that whoever buys into the collectively agreed upon group-think "is infected with the leprosy of collective thinking and has become an inmate of that insalubrious stud-farm called the totalitarian State." When we give away our power, there is always someone bearing the authority of the State who is more than happy to accept our offering, feeding the insatiable will-to-power of the shadow. Jung comments, "The shepherd's staff soon becomes a rod of iron, and the shepherds turn into wolves." Being archetypal, the reciprocal process of people giving away their power to others who abuse it simply because they can has continually re-created itself all throughout history.
Jung warns us that "The most dangerous things in the world are immense accumulations of human beings who are manipulated by only a few heads." In a collective psychosis, the many are manipulated by the few who are attracted to holding power over others. Jung points out that, "Whoever prefers power, is therefore, in the Christian view, possessed by the devil. The psychologist can only agree." In a psychic epidemic, the masses, led and inspired by the few who are perversely possessed by and addicted to the need for power, collectively collude with, support and mutually rein-force each others' irrational beliefs, narcissistic needs, and fears, creating a culture crazy beyond belief. This culture, or lack thereof, is simultaneously the cause and effect of their madness, as they collectively incarnate a living, self-fulfilling prophecy. They become the instruments through which the NLD, the nonlocal demon, reproduces itself, like a multi-headed hydra, in, as, and through the field.

Blessings in Drag
Jung writes, "This state of possession shows itself almost without exception in the fact that the possessed identify themselves with the archetypal contents of their unconscious, and because they do not realize that the role which is being thrust upon them is the effect of new contents still to be understood, they exemplify these concretely in their own lives, thus becoming prophets and reformers [in the negative sense, such as falling into a megalomaniacal inflation]" People who have been swallowed up by the archetype and fallen into the unconscious, instead of shedding light on and integrating the meaning of the activated unconscious contents within themselves, are unwittingly acting out the mythic, symbolic dimension of "the role which is being thrust upon them" in concretized, literal form on the stage of life. The new contents are understood when we realize that the role which is coming through us has its origin in the collective unconscious itself, as if we are playing a role in a cosmic drama. In addition to bestowing upon us a choice of how we want to play this role, this realization snaps us out of personally identifying with the role as well. The part of us that has been unconsciously possessed becomes liberated, creating more consciousness in the process.
When we become taken over by the unconscious, to quote Jung, "...the unconscious in large measure ousts and supplants the function of the conscious mind. The unconscious usurps the reality function and substitutes its own reality. Unconscious thoughts...manifest themselves in senseless, unshakable judgments upheld in the face of reality." When we find ourselves ignoring factual evidence and holding a "magical" belief that we rationally know not to be true, we are under a spell, being "driven" by the unconscious, which is at that point in the driver's seat. The psychic factors which make possession possible are suggestibility, lack of critical discernment, unwillingness or inability to self-reflect, fearfulness, propensity to superstition and prejudice. The contents that take us over when we are possessed by the unconscious appear as phobias, exaggerated affects, peculiar convictions, idiosyncrasies, stubborn plans, compulsions and obsessions, all of which are not open for discussion or correction.
Demons work through our psyche, "managing our perceptions" in a way such that we aren't able to see their influence. Demons bedazzle, bewitch, and bedevil consciousness in such a way that we become blind to our own underlying, assumed viewpoint. We fall under their spell when we become entranced by our own version of reality in such a way so as to think the world "objectively" exists as we perceive it, separate from our own mind. In other words, we fall under the power of the demons when we become fixated in our non-negotiable viewpoint and imagine that what we are seeing objectively exists, in solid form, outside of ourselves, in a way that applies to everyone. We then draw to ourselves all the evidence we need to prove to ourselves the seeming truth of our self-evident viewpoint, confirming our delusion that we are separate from and not participating in helping to create the very situation we find ourselves in, which we are ultimately creating. I call this "Aparticipatory Delusional Syndrome," or ADS for short (please see my article "Delusions of Separation").
On the other hand, we break the spell of the demons when we realize that every moment of our experience is inseparable from our own consciousness, which is to recognize the fluid, non-objective and thus, "dreamlike nature" of reality. Just like figures in a dream, the demons are, ultimately speaking, our own energy, not separate from our own mind (please see my article "God the Imagination"). Just like a dream, the way we observe the world literally evokes the very world we are observing. This means that it is through our awareness itself that we can intervene in the underlying matrix of creation and find the leverage point where we can change the waking dream we are having, which is "evolution-in-action." Interestingly, we wouldn't have woken up and had this realization without the antagonistic co-operation of the demons, which is to say the demons are secretly allies in disguise, catalysts of consciousness appearing as adversaries, blessings in drag (please see my article "The Light of Darkness").

Not the Only One
Jung writes, "The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate." To the extent that we are not consciously working on integrating, via the process of individuation, the unconscious contents and conflicts that are activated within us, is the extent to which these psychic contents will manifest externally and be unconsciously acted out collectively in a literal, concrete way on the world stage. Jung comments, "One shouldn't evade this conflict by escaping into a premature and anticipated state of redemption, otherwise one provokes it in the outside world. And that is of the devil." An activated psychic content not realized consciously in the course of individuation manifests externally, where it gets "dreamed up" in, as, and through the outer world. To use Jung's metaphor, the sponsor of this project(ion) is "the devil."
Jung says, "The world powers that rule over all mankind, for good or ill, are unconscious psychic factors...We are steeped in a world that was created by our own psyche." This brings to mind various quotes in the Bible about "powers and principalities" that rule over humanity, which is the metaphysically equivalent expression of our psychological situation. The Gospel of Luke, for example, has the devil say that the kingdoms of the world are under his control (4:5-6). The Gospel of John speaks of the devil as "the ruler of the world." (14:30, 16:11). The First Letter of John says that "the whole world lies under the power of the evil one." (5:19). Paul speaks of Satan as "the god of this world." (Gal. 1:4; Cor. 4:4). Whether we call it a demon or an unconscious psychic factor, the force that rules over us is created by and an expression of our own psyche.
Reflecting upon the first World War, Jung says, "When fate, for four whole years, played out a war of monumental frightfulness on the stage of Europe - a war that nobody wanted - nobody dreamed of asking exactly who or what had caused the war and its continuation." Similarly, in today's "war on terror," a war that nobody, or at least very few people want, we need to dream of asking exactly who or what has caused this war and its continuation. Jung continues, "Nobody realized that European man was possessed by something that robbed him of all free will. And this state of unconscious possession will continue undeterred until we Europeans become scared of our ‘god-almightiness' [inflation]. Such a change can begin only with individuals, for the masses are blind brutes, as we know to our cost." The real carrier of life is the individual. Real transformation doesn't come through mass movements, or new legislation, but via change within the individual.
Speaking about the effects of being identified with, possessed and inflated by the unconscious, Jung writes, "Everything that exceeds a certain human size evokes equally inhuman powers in man's unconscious. Totalitarian demons are called forth." As a result of becoming overly one-sided in a multi-sided universe, "totalitarian demons" are "dreamed up" both within the unconscious, and, synchronistically, out in the world. Events in the outer world are symbolic reflections of what we are dreaming inside of ourselves (please see my article "Catching the Bug of Synchronicity"). What this means is that the most effective way to change the world is to change ourselves.
Jung writes, "...the historic events of our time have painted a picture of man's psychic reality in indelible colors of blood and fire, and given him an object lesson which he will never be able to forget if - and this is the great question - he has today acquired enough consciousness to keep up with the furious pace of the devil within him." Will we, each one of us, be able to mediate, channel and transform the archetypal, daemonic energy which is flowing through us into creativity such that we can constructively build a new world? This is the question upon whose answer rests the future survival or destruction of the world as we know it.
Jung says, "mankind, because of its scientific and technological development, has in increasing measure delivered itself over to the danger of possession...Man's worst sin is unconsciousness...When shall we...in all seriousness seek ways and means to exorcize him, to rescue him from possession and unconsciousness, and make this the most vital task of civilization?" When shall we make "the most vital task of civilization" the exorcism of the demons that are possessing us? In other words, when shall we make our most vital task "waking up?"
Jung saw this present-day manifestation of the daemonic as an archetypal expression of the potentially catastrophic upheavals that accompany the great transitions from one age to the next. When an archetype like the daemonic appears, both within ourselves and out in the world, things become critical, with possibilities for both good and evil alike. How things actually turn out depends upon how consciousness responds to the situation. During a collective manifestation of the daemonic, such as we have today, the great danger is a mass movement where millions, or even billions of people fall into their unconscious together, igniting a psychic epidemic which spawns an apocalyptic war that ravages life on earth and destroys the biosphere of the planet (see my article "Archetypal Dimensions of World Events"). To quote Jung, "The unconscious works sometimes with most amazing cunning, arranging certain fatal situations, fatal experiences, which make people wake up." Catastrophe can only be avoided if enough people wake up to what is being revealed to us as we act out the unconscious, and then connect with each other so as to de-activate, assimilate, and transform the potentially deleterious effects of the activated daemon. We can then, under the guidance of the Self, our intrinsic wholeness, help each other to usher in a new era of sustainable peace, understanding and mutual co-operation. Our very continued existence as a species on this beautiful planet depends upon this realization.
To be pessimistic and think that we can't change the trajectory of our species' suicidal, trance-like behavior is to be under a spell, to have fallen under a "demon's curse." Having fallen under such a spell, we only strengthen and solidify our spell-bound convict-ion by acting as if there are no other possible outcomes. Pessimism is food for the demons (please see my article "Our Situation is Dire, and There's no Need for Pessimism"). It is crazy to not invest our creative energy into envisioning that we can "come together," and just as crazy to imagine that we can't. If we aren't investing our creative imagination in ways for us to heal and wake up, then what are we thinking? Just like in a dream at night, when enough of us become lucid in the waking dream of life, we can connect with each other and put our lucidity together, changing the world in positive ways in the process (please see my article "Lucid Dreaming").
If people tell me I am a "dreamer" when I profess these idealistic and seemingly naïve beliefs, I will simply say, to quote the late John Lennon, "I am not the only one." There are ever-expanding numbers of us - millions? billions? -- around the planet who in various ways are being drafted by the Self to be channels for a deeper process of awakening, enabling a vast range of entirely new and previously unimagined possibilities to become available to us. The universe is dreaming itself awake through us. When enough of us simply recognize the deeper, archetypal pattern that is happening, i.e., that the universe is waking itself up through us, we can "come together," I "imagine," and help each other to deepen and stabilize our mutually shared awakening, what I call "dreaming ourselves awake." As wounded healers, shamans, dreamers, and artists whose canvas is life itself, we can collaboratively create an "Art-Happening Called Global Awakening."
The real demon is our own ego-clinging. To the extent we are under the seeming influence of a demon is the extent to which we are clinging and grasping, trying to hold onto our concept of ourselves as a discrete and separate self, when in actuality there is nothing (no "thing") to hold onto. To the extent we are clinging or grasping, we have fallen into the self-reinforcing, habitual pattern of contracting against ourselves, and in so doing we are blocking our own light. We can, in this very moment, step out of our own way and let our light shine.

By Paul Levy

15 iulie 2011

The World Is Psyche

One of Jung’s greatest discoveries is what he called “the reality of the psyche,” by which he means that the psyche exists in its own right, in its own open-ended sphere of seemingly unlimited influence. To quote Jung, “The psychic is a phenomenal world in itself, which can be reduced neither to the brain nor to metaphysics” (Note: “psychic” is used throughout this article as the adjective form of “psyche” and not with any parapsychological connotation). Jung is using the word “psyche” in an all-inclusive sense, as he means the totality of all psychic processes, both conscious and unconscious. Jung says, “For me, the psyche is an almost infinite phenomenon. I absolutely don’t know what it is in itself and know only very vaguely what it is not.” The psyche is not an epiphenomenon of biochemical processes in the brain, however, as it cannot be reduced to physical matter, or anything other than itself for that matter. Instead of the matter of the brain being the source of the psyche, to quote Jung, “We might well say, on the contrary, that physical existence is a mere inference, since we know of matter only in so far as we perceive psychic images.” The psyche can’t be factored out of our experience of either matter, or metaphysics, as it is inseparable from and connects both the seemingly opposite physical and metaphysical realms. Any physical or metaphysical experiences are mediated by the psyche by virtue of both of them essentially arising out of and being experiences within the psyche. Jung states, “Metaphysical assertions, however, are statements of the psyche…It is the psyche which, by the divine creative power inherent in it, makes the metaphysical assertion; it posits the distinctions between metaphysical entities. Not only is it the condition of all metaphysical reality, it is that reality.”
Jung states, “For our only reality is psyche, there is no other reality.” The psyche is a mysterious, substance-less substance through which spirit and matter work out their seeming differences and intermingle so as to reveal their unity. To quote Jung, “Between the unknown essences of spirit and matter stands the reality of the psychic – psychic reality, the only reality we can experience immediately.” We never have an experience, of either the world or ourselves, except within the psyche (please see my article It’s All in the Psyche). Jung writes, “The realm of psyche is immeasurably great and filled with living reality. At its brink lies the secret of matter and of spirit.” The psyche is the essence of humanity, its greatest instrument, an indefinable creative entity of enormous scope, subtlety and power that eludes all attempts to explain it, including this one. We should not forget that, to quote Jung, “when we say ‘psyche’ we are alluding to the densest darkness it is possible to imagine.” The psyche is a true mystery that is impossible to pin down. Jung comments, “In reality, there is nothing but a living body. That is the fact, and psyche is as much a living body as body is living psyche: it is just the same.” The world is the living psyche. Because the psyche is not separate from the farthest corners of the whole universe, Jung writes that “The psyche reflects, and knows, the whole of existence.”
The psyche is inseparable from the whole materialized universe, while at the same time being a “no-thing” that is other than and transcendent to the physical universe. The psyche is indistinguishable from and expresses itself as and through its manifestations, yet is independent from and other than its forms. Jung comments, “matter is a thin skin around an enormous cosmos of psychical realities, really the illusory fringe around the real experience, which is psychical.” This is what the Eastern sages are pointing at when they talk about the world being an illusion, as the phenomenal world is not separate from, as well as being a revelation of, the more fundamental reality which is the psyche itself. To quote Jung, “The East bases itself upon psychic reality, that is, upon the psyche as the main and unique condition of existence.” The whole materialized universe is moment by moment the display of and emerging out of the spacious, radiant and effulgently over-flowing ground of the psyche. Jung continues, “The psyche is therefore all-important; it is…the Buddha-essence, it is the Buddha-Mind, the One…All existence emanates from it, and all separate forms dissolve back into it. The forms of this universe are not separate from the spacious emptiness out of which they are arising. As the Heart Sutra of Buddhism succinctly expresses: “Form is Emptiness. Emptiness is form.” Emptiness itself is appearing in the form of form. Form and emptiness are not two separate entities; the universe is non-dual. The psyche, which is the bridge between the inner and the outer dimensions, has a “sacred” (from sacren – to consecrate and make holy, whole, and unified) nature, which is a reflection of our own divinity. Jung continues, “The Buddha is really nothing other than the activating psyche of the yogi – the meditator himself. It is not only that the image of the Buddha is produced out of ‘one’s own mind and thought,’ but the psyche which produces these thought-forms is the Buddha himself.”
Jung writes, “The psyche creates reality every day.” It is as if the psyche extends its tentacles out into the world and arranges, configures, and organizes the world so that the world becomes the very medium through which the psyche is simultaneously expressing, em-bodying and revealing itself. Being nonlocal, the psyche is “located” both within our heads (i.e., in the subjective domain of mind) and synchronistically out in the world at the same time, as time and space become relativized within the all-embracing realm of the psyche (please see my article Catching the Bug of Synchronicity). Jung points out that “it is clear that timeless and spaceless perceptions are possible only because the perceiving psyche is similarly constituted.” The nonlocal psyche is not bound by either the rules of third dimensional space and time, nor by the laws of man. Because of the psyche’s nonlocality, “we have every reason to suppose,” Jung says, “that there is only one world, where matter and psyche are the same thing. For psyche and matter to be inseparably united is just like being in a dream, where the apparent matter of the dream is a direct reflection of the psyche that is dreaming. Jung writes, “‘At bottom’ the psyche is simply world.”The psyche animates and gives rise to the world, while at the same time, the world reciprocally generates and in-forms the psyche. The psyche is not just a reflection of the world, however, but to quote Jung, “The psyche does not merely react, it gives its own specific answer to the influences at work upon it.”
Endowed with the dignity of a cosmic principle, the psyche has a pre-eminent place in the natural order of things. The life of the psyche arises out of organic life, while at the same time transcending it through its own self-creation. The psyche has the unique quality of creating itself through its own activity. A product of cosmic evolution, the conscious psyche is a relatively recent emergence out of the womb of nature itself. The psyche, what Jung calls “the greatest of all cosmic wonders” is a natural phenomenon, emerging out of and being nothing other than pure nature itself. Jung writes, “And just as life fills the whole earth with plant and animal forms, so the psyche creates an even vaster world, namely consciousness, which is the self-cognition of the universe.”
Many people have been conditioned to devalue the psyche, thinking of the contents of the psyche as mere nothings, empty fabrications. Realizing the reality of the psyche is to recognize, that quite to the contrary, its contents have a living reality. If many people have a belief that a river runs backwards, for example, this is not a physical fact (i.e., the river doesn’t run backwards), but the fact that many people believe this irrational idea is a psychic fact that has its own category of existence per se. Jung comments, “A psychic process is something that really exists, and a psychic content is as real as a plant or animal.” Though psychic contents aren’t quantifiable, don’t occupy space nor have a location, and don’t have a physical mass, they have a reality all their own. Jung even suggests that if “we wished to form a vivid picture of a non-spatial being of the fourth dimension, we should do well to take thought, as a being, for our model.”
Jung writes, “We could well point to the idea of psychic reality as the most important achievement of modern psychology if it were recognized as such.”The discovery of the living reality of the psyche was a precious gift that the new field of psychology had to offer to the world, and yet, it has mostly gone unappreciated and unrecognized. Jung was so far ahead of his time when he realized the living, autonomous reality of the nonlocal psyche that few people understood what he was talking about. The discovery of the ‘reality’ of the psyche, the ‘most important achievement of modern psychology,’ is something that most people still don’t even know about. Modern, behaviorist psychology, in Jung’s words, “reduces psychic happenings to a kind of activity of the glands; thoughts are regarded as secretions of the brain, and thus we achieve a psychology without the psyche.'' The psyche itself is truly a subject worthy of our contemplation and veneration. Jung opines, “It is my conviction that the investigation of the psyche is the science of the future.” The psyche is the subject of all knowledge, being the womb in and out of which both art and science are born.
“I am of the opinion,” writes Jung, “that the psyche is the most tremendous fact of human life.” The psyche is the underlying matrix, the infinite emptiness that is over-flowingly full, the maternal womb out of which world events are born. Jung calls the psyche “the mother of all human facts, of civilization and of its destroyer, war. All this is at first psychic and invisible.” What is currently playing out in the collective body politic is a process that has been gestating in the depths of the human psyche over millennia (please see my article Shadow Projection: The Fuel of War). There has been a preparatory process going on within the human psyche over the history of our species that has unleashed the very forces that are at work today in the world. Jung writes, “what the unconscious really contains are the great collective events of the time. In the collective unconscious of the individual, history prepares itself.” World events are being cooked up in the crucible of the collective unconscious of humanity into living experiences.
Jung elucidates, “What future developments are being prepared in the unconscious of modern man…It depends on us whether we help coming events to birth by understanding them, and reinforce their healing effect, or whether we repress them with our prejudices, narrow-mindedness and ignorance, thus turning their effect into its opposite, into poison and destruction.” We are potential spiritual midwives, who by ‘understanding’ the psychic nature of ‘future developments,’ ‘reinforce their healing effect’ and birth ‘coming events’ into incarnation through the womb of the psyche. The psyche, which is pregnant with open-ended possibilities, is the very cipher in which the history of humanity is being written. Jung writes, “The world today hangs by a thin thread, and that thread is the psyche of man.”
The psyche is historical, in the sense that its development can only be understood in the context of its personal and collective past. History, which is the psyche’s revelation of itself, is not only being given birth to within the psyche; the psyche itself is the very force which in-forms and gives shape to history. The psyche is simultaneously historical and trans-historical, however, which is to say that the psyche atemporally abides outside of linear time yet simultaneously generates events experienced by humans as historical time. Though within its very structure is written the whole history of humanity, the psyche is at the same time teleological, in that it is purposeful, seeking its own actualization. Jung writes, “Anything psychic is Janus-faced: it looks both backwards and forwards.” The psyche is like a pivot through which, both on the individual and collective levels, we choose either to look backwards and re-create the unhealed past, or step into consciously participating in our own creative future evolution in the present.
The psyche doesn’t solely belong to a self-contained, particular person, but is related to the collective, which is to say everyone, as the psyche exists in and as an underlying, all-pervasive field which in-forms and gives shape to all of life. To quote Jung, “the psyche is not only a personal but a world problem.” The psyche is like an omnipresent atmo“sphere” that exists in all times and throughout all space. The psyche expresses itself like a fractal, in that it uses synchronistic iterations of itself to express itself in multiple dimensions simultaneously – within ourselves, in relationship with each other, and throughout the collective organism of humanity. Jung comments, “the psyche of a people is only a somewhat more complex structure than the psyche of an individual. Moreover, has not a poet spoken of the ‘nations of his soul?’ And quite correctly, it seems to me, for in one of its aspects the psyche is not individual, but is derived from the nation, from the collectivity, from humanity even. In some way or other we are part of a single, all-embracing psyche.” In his own researches, both with his patients and within himself, Jung had tapped into a supra-personal psyche that he called the collective unconscious, a dimension of reality in which we are all contained through our infinitely intricate interconnectedness. Pointing at the nonlocality of the psyche, Jung writes, “the psyche does not exist wholly in time and space…For the psyche this means a relative eternality and a relative non-separation from other psyches, or a oneness with them.” Commenting on a collective evolutionary process that is taking place within the psyche of humanity, Jung writes, “Our world has shrunk, and it is dawning on us that humanity is one, with one psyche.” We are beginning to wake up, due to evolutionary necessity, to the fact that we are indivisibly interdependent, only existing in relation to each other. We are, by our very nature, one human family. Just like when one family member changes it propels the whole system to reconfigure itself, each single person waking up to the fact that ‘humanity is one’ changes the whole world’s psyche, the soul of the World. When one person in this moment realizes the reality of the psyche, which is to become lucid in the waking dream called life, this particular person’s realization nonlocally registers throughout space in no time whatsoever, changing everything.
Jung could just as well have been talking about our current war(s) when, speaking about World War I, he says, “The whole war was a psychical phenomenon…It was simply the time when that thing had to happen from unknown psychical reasons. Any great movement of man has always started from psychical reasons.” The source of any great transformative collective movement of humanity throughout history, be it constructive or destructive, is the human psyche. Jung comments, “I can see no sense in our blaming the war for things that have happened to us. Each of us carried within himself the elements that brought on the war.” Most people don’t realize that wars are themselves full-bodied expressions of inner psychic processes being played out in the world theater (please see my article Archetypal Dimensions of World Events). Commenting on the Second World War, Jung said that it “was recognized as an unmitigated psychic disaster only by the few. Rather than do this, people prefer the most preposterous political and economic theories.”
Just like a dream supplies all the evidence we need to confirm the seemingly objective truth of the viewpoint we are holding within it, once the sociopolitical insanity plays itself out in the form of war, we have all the proof we need that the conflict is outside of ourselves. It is then nearly impossible to convince anyone that the source of the conflict lies within the psyche of every individual. The psyche becomes exteriorized, as an internal psychic conflict then takes place on the plane of projection outside in the world in living flesh and blood in the form of war. To quote Jung, “In the same way that the atom bomb is an unparalleled means of physical mass destruction, so the misguided development of the soul must lead to psychic mass destruction.”
As if an iteration of the same, underlying fractal, the psychic forces that animated the totalitarian psychosis (what I call “malignant egophrenia”) that inspired the two world wars of the previous century are actively at work creating war in our current day and age. Being Janus-faced, however, hidden in this psychic dis-ease is a profound potential blessing. Jung points out that “the totalitarian psychosis with its frightful consequences and the intolerable disturbance of human relationships are forcing us to pay attention to the psyche and our abysmal unconsciousness of it. Never before has mankind as a whole experienced the numen of the psychological factor on so vast a scale.” Jung is articulating that the psyche, in its full-blown numinosity, is manifesting in, as and through our world crisis as if the psyche is a higher power. Just like the unconscious compensates a one-sidedness through the dreams it sends our way, the totalitarian psychosis that is playing out in the world today is the very compensatory form through which the psyche is trying to get our attention about the psyche’s profound importance. The totalitarian psychosis running rampant throughout the world today is the psyche’s way of revealing to us that we are forgetting the very role the psyche plays in creating our experience. Marginalizing our own authorship and authority, we then dream up totalitarian forces to limit our freedom and create our experience for us. A true conjunction of opposites, the totalitarian psychosis is both a horror, as well as a potential revelation showing us how we have disconnected from our own creative power. A quantum phenomenon, how the madness plays itself out depends upon whether we recognize what it is revealing to us about ourselves.
It is high time for us to pay attention to the psyche’s role in human affairs. Paradoxically, both the origin as well as the potential re-solution to our world crisis are to be found within the subtle organ of the psyche (please see my article Shadow Projection is its own Medicine). To quote Jung, “a complete spiritual renewal in needed. And this cannot be given gratis, each man must strive to achieve it for himself. Neither can old formulas which once had a value be brought into force again. The eternal truths cannot be transmitted mechanically, in every epoch they must be born anew from the human psyche.” What is born anew from the human psyche is the awareness of the reality of the psyche, as we become the instruments through which the psyche becomes aware of itself. Jung writes, “It is our own psyche, constantly at work creating new spiritual forms and spiritual forces which may help us to subdue the boundless lust for prey of Aryan man.” The potential re-solution to our world crisis is emerging out of, into, and through the human psyche itself within each person. Since there are no absolute boundaries between an individual’s psyche and any other part of creation, none of us are separate from the cosmic creative principle itself; in fact, we are that principle incarnated in human form. This is to say that each of us is ultimately identical with the divine source of creation itself.
Jung writes “no explanation of the psychic can be anything other than the living process of the psyche itself.” This means that these very words about the psyche are the “living process” of the psyche reflecting upon itself. Jung reminds us that “We should not forget that in any psychological discussion we are not saying anything about the psyche, but that the psyche is always speaking about itself.” Not just in these words, but in everything, at every moment. The universe is an oracle, an instantaneous feedback loop that is a living revelation of itself, and it is speaking symbolically, just like a dream. Literally.
The psyche is the means by which we observe the psyche; it is in the peculiar position of being simultaneously subject and object of its own contemplation. In the domain of the psyche, the observer is truly the observed. Jung writes, “there is no knowledge about the psyche, but only in the psyche.” Instead of the psyche being within our brains, just like a dream, we are inside the psyche. Jung comments, “the psychical is no longer a content in us, but we become contents of it.” We are indeed ‘such stuff as dreams are made.’ To quote Jung, “Far, therefore, from being a material world, this is a psychic world” (please see my article One Great Dream of a Single Dreamer). Recognizing the psychic nature of reality is to recognize that, just like in a dream, the inner is the outer. Recognizing the mysterious co-relation between what is occurring in the world and what is happening within our own minds empowers us to become dynamic transformative agents in our world. Instead of unconsciously reacting to our projections as they appear out in the world, our relationship to our projections and our world radically changes. Recognizing ourselves in the world, we become en-abled to play with our projections in a way that serves the whole field, ourselves included.
Jung over and over reiterates in his writings that the greatest danger which threatens humanity comes from our own psyche. Millions of us can fall into our unconscious together and reinforce each other’s madness, feeding a contagious psychic epidemic in which we unwittingly become complicit in supporting the insanity of endless wars (please see my article Diagnosis: Psychic Epidemic). Unconscious psychic forces are the active world powers which rule over humanity. “The powers of the psyche” are so unimaginably vast that, in Jung’s opinion, they “are far mightier than all the Great Powers of the earth.” The psyche is an active power that can’t be form-fitted into a limited, materialistic world view that sees the world as separate from itself. Hidden within the psyche, like a treasure in encoded form waiting to be discovered, is an incalculable meta-nuclear power which, as history shows, can transform entire civilizations in unforeseeable ways. Jung says, “the investigation of the deeper levels of the psyche brings to light much that we, on the surface, can at most dream about.”
What would happen, I find myself imagining, when more people investigate and more fully realize, not intellectually, but experientially, the living reality of the psyche? What would it ‘bring to light?’ Being that recognizing the psychic nature of reality simultaneously transforms both the psyche as well as our experience of ‘reality,’ how would the psyche, and the world, reflect back this realization? How would the human dynamic of our present day world change, I wonder, if the psyche was realized to be the ground and origin of all that occurs in our world? How would we, as individuals, be different than we are right now? The psyche itself is an always-available, living portal through which we can both transform ourselves and re-create the world in which we live. It is our greatest gift. Being that this gift is a passageway to the healing and evolution of our species, what if we more fully open it?


By  Paul Levy